Marshall McLuhan's Mosaic: Probing the Literary Origins of Media Studies

By Elena Lamberti

© 2012

One hundred years after Marshall McLuhan’s birth, Elena Lamberti explores a fundamental, yet neglected aspect of his work: the solid humanistic roots of his original ‘mosaic’ form of writing. In this investigation of how his famous communication theories were influenced by literature and the arts, Lamberti proposes a new approach to McLuhan’s thought.

Lamberti delves into McLuhan’s humanism in light of his work on media and culture, exploring how he began to perceive literature not just as a subject, but a ‘function inseparable from communal existence.’ Lamberti pays particular attention to the central role played by Modernism in the making of his theories, including the writings of Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Wyndham Lewis. Reconnecting McLuhan with his literary past, Marshall McLuhan’s Mosaic is a demonstration of one of his greatest ideas: that literature not only matters, but can help us understand the hidden patterns that rule our environment.

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  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Reconnecting McLuhan with his literary past, Marshall McLuhan’s Mosaic is a demonstration of one of his greatest ideas: that literature not only matters, but can help us understand the hidden patterns that rule our environment.

Marshall McLuhan's Mosaic: Probing the Literary Origins of Media Studies

By Elena Lamberti

© 2012

One hundred years after Marshall McLuhan’s birth, Elena Lamberti explores a fundamental, yet neglected aspect of his work: the solid humanistic roots of his original ‘mosaic’ form of writing. In this investigation of how his famous communication theories were influenced by literature and the arts, Lamberti proposes a new approach to McLuhan’s thought.

Lamberti delves into McLuhan’s humanism in light of his work on media and culture, exploring how he began to perceive literature not just as a subject, but a ‘function inseparable from communal existence.’ Lamberti pays particular attention to the central role played by Modernism in the making of his theories, including the writings of Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Wyndham Lewis. Reconnecting McLuhan with his literary past, Marshall McLuhan’s Mosaic is a demonstration of one of his greatest ideas: that literature not only matters, but can help us understand the hidden patterns that rule our environment.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Elena Lamberti is a research professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at the University of Bologna.

  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments

    Prologue

    'April is the cruellest month …'
    Look Backward, Enquire Farther

    1. A Renewed Approach to Marshall McLuhan's Poetics

    From Figure to Ground
    What Was THAT? McLuhan's 'Little Point'
    Pointing to Action: This Book
    Digging the Ground
    Hey, Marshall McLuhan, What Were You Doin'?
    Oh, What a Seer He Was!
    The Electric/Eclectic Humanist
    Learning the Grammar
    Post-literate 'Paideia'
    From Integral Awareness to Storytelling

    PART ONE: THE MOSAIC

    2. Towards Post-Secondary Orality: The Mosaic

    Embodying McLuhan
    Casting the Hybrid
    Substantial Discontinuity
    What's in a Probe?
    Playing with Form
    Render Not Narrate
    McLuhan's Interactive Mosaic or Post-Secondary Orality

    3. Thus Spoke the Oracle

    Oracular Pronouncements
    Interfacing Orality and Literacy
    Performative Storytelling

    4. Let the Guru Resound

    The Gurus' Guru
    Redefining Space
    Holistic Mosaic: Western Science, Eastern Philosophies
    Touch-A Touch-A Touch the Guru

    5. A Conscious Modernist Craftsman

    A Pioneer of (New) Modernist Studies
    Universal Quest, Fragmented Rendering
    To Make You Feel: Probing through Language

    6. The Hyper-Language of the Media 'Fan'

    Media Fan or Grammarian of Media?
    Hypertexting the Mosaic
    De-hypertexting the Mosaic
    Electrifying Hybrid

    PART TWO: MODERNIST ASCENDANCIES

    7. McLuhan and Media Studies

    Labelling the Media Theorist
    Evolutionary Grammarian
    A Political Thomist
    A Classic Modernist

    8. From Literature to Media Studies

    Conscious Planning
    Practical Mystics
    From Renaissance to Modernism
    On a Mission

    9. Ford Madox Ford: 'Not Mere Chat'

    Literature Matters
    An Imaginative Writer
    Things, Not Words
    Comparing Strategies
    Rendering Change
    Ford's The Fifth Queen: Probing the Making of the Gutenberg Galaxy

    10. James Joyce: Vivisecting Society

    Applied Joyce
    Sci-Fi Phantasmagoria
    Grotesque Vivisection
    Newspaperwise Attack

    11. Ezra Pound: Pursuing Persuasion, Translating Cultures

    Epical News
    From Old to New Learning 196 (Ideo)Grammatic Baedeker
    Totalitarian Craft?

    12. Wyndham Lewis: Blasting Time, Blessing Space

    A Proto-postmodernist
    From Time to Space
    Experiencing Arrest
    Counterblastings

    PART THREE: APPLIED McLUHAN

    13. Literature and Media: A Round Trip

    Engaging with or Applying McLuhan?
    'Visual Literate' Forms
    Masking the Guru
    Actual Sci-Fi
    Rear-View Mirrors
    Performing Presence
    Pathological Narcissuses
    Charismatic Flesh

    Epilogue: Witty Fool or Foolish Wit?

    Merging Right and Left
    Coda: Enters the Fool, Exit All Others

    Notes

    Bibliography
    Index

  • Awards

    Canada Prize in the Humanities awarded by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences - Short-listed in 2013
    Marshall McLuhan Award for Outstanding Book in the Field of Media Ecology - Winner in 2016
  • Subjects and Courses

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